Japan’s largest power producer Jera has launched an international competitive tender to secure ammonia fuel from low or zero carbon sources.

Jera revealed late last week it had sent a request for proposals to more than 30 companies outlining the bidding conditions for the supply of up to 500,000 tonnes per annum of ammonia, on a free on board basis.

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The potential long-term deal, which would run from 2027 through to the 2040s, is subject to a number of conditions, including ensuring the sourced ammonia has a low carbon footprint.

Jera will require for the ammonia production to either be free of carbon dioxide emissions, or for the emissions to be captured and stored.

A Jera spokesperson told Upstream that in the case of blue ammonia, the CO2 reduction rate "should be 60% or more" compared to ammonia produced without carbon capture and storage, however, the spokesperson added that figure "may be reviewed in the future".

Green ammonia is produced from green hydrogen, which is produced by electrolysis using electricity from renewable sources, creating an emissions free fuel.

Blue ammonia is made from blue hydrogen derived from natural gas feedstocks, with the CO2 by-product from hydrogen production captured and stored. However, the process is not emissions free.

The conditions of the tender also require Jera to have the option to participate in the production projects.

It intends to evaluate the proposals it receives over the coming months and will look to select multiple companies around May to enter into specific discussions with.

Net zero by 2050

The competitive tender forms part of Jera’s target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, which will see it adopt greener fuels and pursue thermal power that does not emit CO2 during power generation.

As part of its net zero initiatives, Jera is working on a project to demonstrate the use of fuel ammonia at its coal-fired Hekinan thermal power station, in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture.

It is aiming to switch 20% of the fuel at one of the 4.1-gigawatt power station’s five units towards the end of this decade.

“Given the steady progress of this demonstration project, Jera has decided to consider fuel ammonia suppliers in parallel, and to conduct an international competitive bid,” the company said in Friday’s statement.

By the first half of the 2030s, Jera is aiming to have a 20% co-firing rate of ammonia at its thermal power stations, with the shift to thermal power power plants using 100% ammonia as fuel expected to be complete by the 2040s.